Monday Morning Greetings 2021 #7 – What I Learned from Tom Brady

February 15th, 2021

In American sports, there is a term “GOAT”, which is an acronym for “Greatest Of All Time”. That title unquestionably belongs to Tom Brady, at least in terms of American football. I just spoke to my older brother the other day, and he informed me that at the age of forty-three Tom Brady won his unprecedented seventh Super Bowl, an unimaginable accomplishment for those who know the game. A lot of talk surrounding his success included his dedication to his craft based on a daily regimen that allowed him not only to continue to excel, but to dominate his sport at a position where top athletes rarely last into their mid to late thirties. I was curious to explore his regimen, so I found an article on his routine.[1]

 

His daily hour-by-hour schedule and his unwavering commitment to follow it was impressive, and it inspired me to improve my own regimen. But it wasn’t just his schedule that impressed me. His approach to excellence was comprehensive, from the intricacy of his fitness program and his daily exercises for mental acuity to his carefully planned diet to give him energy and strength without causing inflammation in the body. Here’s what I gleaned as the two main factors leading to Tom Brady’s excellence that I think also have practical application in spiritual life.

 

Having a Fixed Objective

Tom Brady set his goal on being the best at his craft. What stands out more than anything else when studying his career is how his goal of excellence informed all aspects of his life. In the same way, for a yogic aspirant to have reasonable spiritual attainment, his or her life has to be fully informed by their spiritual goals. The story of how Srila Prabhupada became inspired to know and fulfill his life mission is a good example of this. While reading a verse in the Bhagavad-gita about being resolute in determination, he was suddenly struck by its commentary, which was interpreted to mean that one should take the order of the spiritual master as one’s life and soul. He then remembered his guru’s instruction to preach Krishna consciousness in the English language and took it up with fervor. That mission or objective ruled the rest of his life, enabling him to achieve what others saw as impossible. At the age of seventy, he took the holy name of Krishna first to America and then to every town and village of the world.

 

Regulation

Having a set, fixed objective is no doubt the most important component of success in life, but that alone is not sufficient to achieve excellence. Like Tom Brady, one must chalk out a schedule and be disciplined to fulfill it. Regulation as the foundation of achievement is especially true on the path of yoga, where success requires an exclusive time and place for the practice of meditation and the fulfillment of one’s seva. Without that, one’s focus will inevitably be challenged or distracted by other priorities. Distraction is not yoga on any path. When meditating on the power of regulated life, the example of three spiritual luminaries come immediately to mind. The substantial spiritual practices of Raghunatha dasa Goswami, the prayojana acaraya,[2] were so fixed or immovable that they were described as like the lines of a stone. Bhaktivinoda Thakur was so regulated in his life that besides his work as a District Magistrate and his responsibilities as a father of ten children, his schedule included, among other things, six hours of writing every day. Srila Prabhupada started and led a world-wide spiritual movement, circling the globe twelves times in ten years. At the same time, his fixed schedule still afforded him the ability to translate more than fifty volumes of Sanskrit texts into English with personal commentaries.

 

Tom Brady is an exemplar of excellence. His fixedness in his goal and consequent discipline should inspire anyone, even those in the spiritual field. While meditating in this way, however, another thought suddenly came to my mind that encouraged me personally. I wouldn’t trade my simple life of chanting the holy name with him for all the money in the world. I couldn’t imagine the level of attachment someone like him accrues, and the consequent duality and fear that accompanies it. Like every man, his time will soon be up, and deep in his heart he knows it. Jesus said it best: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36, ESV)

 

And that’s what I learned from Tom Brady.

 

 

 


[1] https://nypost.com/article/tom-brady-diet-fitness-routines/

[2] In the Caitanya bhakti tradition, Raghunath dasa Goswami is considered the main teacher for exemplifying how to attain the ultimate goal of premabhakti.

 

Comments are closed.

Trackback URI |